COLUMN: Bring your best - Create, contribute and connect

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Children are wonderfully creative. Blanket forts, hand written notes, songs, dances, games, questions and lists goes on and on. Given the right environment they seem to overflow with ideas. In them we see an innate desire to create and connect.

As life progresses that desire is either fostered or crushed through interactions and experiences. One individual blossoms while another is trapped in their pain and brokenness. What lies underneath these two contrasting outcomes? We gain insight through one of the earliest stories of humanity, Cain and Abel. It reads:

Now Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a cultivator of the ground. So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord from the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought an offering, from the firstborn of his flock and from their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering; but for Cain and his offering He had no regard. 

So Cain became very angry and his face was gloomy. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why is your face gloomy? If you do well, will your face not be cheerful? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Cain talked to his brother Abel; and it happened that when they were in the field Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. - Genesis 4:2-8 (NASB) 

Each brought a gift, yet something about the gift that Cain brought was lacking. We don’t know if it was the wrong gift, like showing up to a baby shower with a table saw, or perhaps more likely the motivation in the heart of Cain. The text reads that Cain’s was “from the fruit of the ground” but Abel “from the firstborn of his flock.”

Cain brought his best. We know when we are not giving our best in life. A sports commentator will say, “their hearts just aren’t in it today.” The team has stepped out of their creative and connected dynamic into selfishness and divisions. There is a purpose for each one of us that we discover in relationship to God. We were born to create and contribute and to connect, yet we all can fall into the same trap that Cain did.

Sin is lurking at our door and it desires to consume us, but we must master it. Bring your best because there is something lurking and that thing that is lurking desires you, but it has nothing good planned for you. It only wants to use you, lie to you, kill you and destroy you.  

God showed us what it means to give the best. He gave Jesus to the world to restore and renew each of our lives. Our good Father longs to heal the hurts and disappointments that have crushed our creativity. He comes to heal those areas of our lives and remind us that He has given us something to contribute to others.

“If you do well, will your face not be cheerful?” The scriptures are teaching us the way of life. There is a real danger when we miss the mark. We become jealous and angry.

If left unchecked we then we will seek to kill those around us. It is serious business.

Thankfully God has provided a remedy for our sin. He gave us Jesus to become our way, truth, and life. In Jesus we find a liberation from the grip of sin in our lives and a grace to do that which is right. It is a wonderful gift, may we embrace it today.  

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